How A Chiswick Schoolboy Ended Up In A Beatles Video

Jim Bascran was climbing trees during filming in Chiswick House fifty years ago


Lady Of The Camellias

Chiswick House and Gardens Trust

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A daily walk home from primary school took an exciting turn for two Chiswick schoolchildren and their mothers fifty years ago when they discovered the Beatles filming in Chiswick House grounds.

Recently, the Chiswick House & Gardens Trust, through, asked people to come forward with their memories of the time when the four most famous people on the planet came to W4 to film the video for 'Rain' and 'Paperback Writer'.

Jim Bascran as a five year old Chiswick schoolboy

Shirley Bascran, who lived in Ennismore Avenue at the time, was taking her five year old son Jim home from Cavendish School, along with her friend Judy and her five-year old daughter Lisa. Their daily routine was to cross through Chiswick House and let the children play on the trees.

Shirley, who was also pushing a pram which had her younger child inside, was surprised to find a film crew inside the grounds and even more surprised when she recognised John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

"We stood and watched while it was going on. It was very exciting. I was struck by how tall John and Paul were. At one point somebody asked if they should tell the children to get down from the tree but one of the band said 'No, leave them'.

"We were surprised when we found out that Jim and Lisa could be seen in the background of the video- I think you can see it on You Tube . Of course we could never get a copy of the EP as we didn't have a record player - we were too hard up then. And I'd love to get a copy of the cover to have for the grandchildren but I don't know if we can."

Schoolboy Jim Bascran enjoyed playing in the trees at Chiswick House gardens

She said the family often talked about the experience of becoming inadvertently connected with The Beatles through the video taken on that afternoon.

The five-year old boy Jim is now a retired Fire Officer and lives in Fleet, Hampshire, He is married with grown-up children. His childhood friend Lisa, now lives in Leicestershire.

Shirley lived in Chiswick for six years before moving to Old Isleworth where she spent the next forty years. She has now retired with her husband to Fleet to be near the family.

This grainy image shows local children watching the band

Footage of the films shows masses of presumably uninvited “extras”, children playing on the tree behind the band, schoolchildren in maroon uniform outside the conservatory, and students crammed against a gate trying to get a peak of the Fab Four who had taken refuge against the hordes of fans in the walled garden.

Chiswick House archives is still seeking people who have a story to tell of that afternoon. Do you know who they were? Were you there? If so, please email any anecdotes or pictures you may have of the day to putting “Beatles Memories” in the subject field. The filming in the grounds is now regarded as being ahead of its time as bands did not have pop videos in those days. The group made the promotional videos as they were tired from touring.

Some of the filming took place in the Conservatory

Although the Beatles are long gone, fans and film aficionados still make the pilgrimage to West London to visit the scenes of the famous films.

April 7, 2016

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